A couple of days ago, Kapar MP Datuk Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid of Parti Keadilan Rakyat alleged that there is a plot by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin to stop his party President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from becoming the future PM.
Mahathir has said, "That is a 'nice' allegation. I have no business in the internal affairs of other parties."
His adviser Datuk Abdul Kadir Jasin retorted, "It's an allegation by a PKR man, wait until he shows proof."
In the run up to the PKR party elections, the Kapar MP had last week alleged that Mahathir and Daim were sabotaging the agreed deal to make Anwar the PM by ensuring Azmin Ali wins in his bid to become PKR deputy president against Rafizi Ramli.
Abdullah insinuated that by by obliterating Anwar's loyalist Rafizi, Azmin is being groomed to take the PM's post and that if Rafizi does not win the post, deputy president Anwar will never become the PM because Azmin is not loyal.
Mahathir has awarded Azmin with some of the strongest economic ministerial portfolios and this has led to speculations that Azmin is being groomed by Mahathir to be the next PM, perhaps replacing Anwar. Azmin is also known among party members as one who is politically ambitious, what with having helmed Selangor as the Menteri Besar.
While these allegations have rattled PKR members somewhat, this is not the first time Anwar and his team have publicly expressed his paranoia towards Mahathir and Daim in trying to obstruct him from becoming the PM.
Anwar and his team have publicly expressed his paranoia towards Mahathir and Daim in trying to obstruct him from becoming the PM.
In 2014, in an interview with the now defunct fz.com, just before the infamous "Langkah Kajang", a bid to make Anwar the Menteri Besar of Selangor, Anwar said this:
"I want to deliver. I want to make sure that the (blue)print in Selangor, which can be seen and clearly understood by people of Selangor and in Malaysia, is how Malaysia will become. So, we have this larger agenda. Selangor is under siege – with UMNO, what we see, what we read or what we hear is only part of it. You know the phobia, hysteria of Anwar going to Selangor, I know the hysteria (created) by Tun Daim. I am saying this for the first time – “with Anwar there, with his experience, a capacity to attract investment and to be able to engage with investors and to use the reserves for the people, this will weigh heavily against UMNO (sic).”"
Political analyst Dr Mazlan Ali of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said that as Daim is Mahathir's man, these allegations are actually the sword pointed at Mahathir, through Daim.
He explained that there is a likelihood that both Anwar and Mahathir have already prepared their strategies to become the Prime Minister, even before the general election was won.
"Both seem to have stationed their strategies and one can see that the formation of the cabinet by Mahathir at the initial stage was more from those in Azmin's team, and only after that, did Mahathir bring in those perceived as being as more supportive of Rafizi's camp.
Mahathir also got quite a big support from Sarawakian parties such as Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB).
"Mahathir was probably worried that should he need support to continue as the premier (even after the agreed two years), he would still be able to get the support of the PKR people in the government. He may also be able to get some support from the opposition UMNO to a certain extent. However, there is no doubt that Amanah and DAP are all right behind Mahathir," says Mazlan.
He further points out that politics is all about perception and Anwar had given the perception upon his release from imprisonment after the GE14 that he was "impatient".
"As soon as he (Anwar) was pardoned, he was seen as impatient, for he went to meet with the Malay rulers from one to another. He met foreign leaders despite him not having any position in the government. This happened while the people saw that Mahathir was working hard to reform the government. The public perception of Anwar was that he was "impatient"."
"Furthermore, Rafizi at the same time made statements stating that Mahathir had not consulted PKR over the appointments of the top three ministers (Finance, Defence and Home Affairs) and that Mahathir was not the reason Pakatan Harapan won the election. Putting two and two together, it seemed then that Anwar was the instigator behind Rafizi, what more with the current party elections heating up, Anwar seems to have given his blessings to Rafizi to stand against Azmin. The thing is Mahathir seemed to have quite a big support from the MPs in the parliament and the people who voted for PH," says Mazlan.
Having explained that, Mazlan cautioned that one cannot however underestimate Anwar's influence, for Mahathir is not the PM he was when he was the UMNO president.
Mazlan cautioned that one cannot however underestimate Anwar's influence, for Mahathir is not the PM he was when he was the UMNO president.
"As UMNO was the dominant party which could wield anything and appoint anyone, in PH, Mahathir has to get the consensus of all parties within PH. Should Mahathir not give a placement in the cabinet (upon Anwar becoming an MP), this may not go down too well even with DAP and Amanah, as they will want to be perceived as being fair to PKR," Mazlan adds.
He also said that while it is true that Mahathir, accompanied by Daim, may be weaving his invisible web over PKR through Azmin in the party elections, it would do well for party members to remember that Azmin is a political elite with the strongest ministerial portfolio in the government whereas Rafizi is more of an activist with a party base.
Mazlan says that both Azmin and Rafizi know how to play the political game, but at the end of the day, PKR members must decide whether they want the party to move forward or continue to be dragged into the old style of non-stop politicking and endless public bickering.